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5 ways to hone your writing skills

Freelance writer. Freelance photographer.

Sounds so professional, right?

But how does one go about becoming either one of those?

I did a little poking around the Internet this past week and came across a website called Innovative Ink, created by Elna, another beginner freelance writer, and found a series she wrote called “Freelance Writing Jobs for Newbies.” There was a number of valuable details about honing your skills as a writer, getting your name out there, landing a client, determining your rates and writing a contract.

Here are some of the points that caught my attention:

1. Portfolio

Many journalism students are strongly encouraged to keep everything they write throughout their college career, no matter how big or small it may be. Why? Because it can be added to their portfolio. Everything you write is a sample of what you can do.

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As a college student, I was a reporter for the school paper and kept PDFs of every piece I wrote. Which was great, but I graduated from college three years ago and haven’t really written an article since then. I had dealt with plenty of online briefs and press releases during my employment at The Morning Call in Allentown, but I have nothing to show for it except for my knowledge and experience.

So how do you keep building your portfolio?

2. Blogging

Why blog? Because it’s a way to determine where you fit in the interwebs. What is your niche? What are you passionate about? What inspires you to write? It took me a while to figure that one out, but soon I would hear a quote or a song or snap a picture of a breathtaking view and suddenly I was inspired to write a 6 paragraph or longer blog post in under an hour. Anything you write can be used in your portfolio, whether it be professional writing or for fun. So, if you’re not in school or don’t write something new every day for work, do it on your down time in the evenings or on the weekends at home.

Which brings me to my next point…

3. Write Daily

This is very important. If writers make it a point to write something every day – a paragraph, their rambling thoughts, a letter – it’s almost guaranteed that their writing will improve and they’ll be able to figure out what their niche is as a writer. Do you have an interest? Write about it. Do you like to cook or bake? Write about it. How about that crazy awesome book series you just finished? Write about it! (just don’t give away the ending)

4. Guest blogging

This is similar to the second point, but the difference is that it’s for another person, not for yourself. I’ve always wondered how to get into writing on another blog. When I started researching how to become a freelance writer, many sites suggested being a guest blogger. Ok, but how do I go about finding blogs that I can write for? That’s where Innovative Ink helped. She listed Google searches to try and a way to sign up for opportunities to guest blog for money (yes, apparently that is a thing at beafreelanceblogger.com). It’s just a matter of getting your name out there and letting the cyber world know what you’re capable of before you fly solo and land your own clients.

5. Social Media

This has already been a major part of getting the word out about my blog. I’ve been working on my blog since 2011 and it contains a wide variety of writing samples – poetry, devotionals, short story, news articles, features and more. By the time I moved my blog over to this website, I was nearly at 7000 views! That’s all from sharing my latests posts on my Facebook, LinkedIn and Google profiles. What I learned from blogging for fun is that social media has to be a big factor in getting the word out about my freelance career, my clients and what I can offer to the world as a writer and photographer.

So there you have it. Be creative! Write! Build that portfolio and have fun with it 🙂

I would highly recommend checking out the “Freelance Writing Jobs for Newbies” series, as it has helped me to form a game plan for starting my career as a freelance writer.

Thanks for reading!

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For I know the plans I have for you…

As I sat at a table in Applebee’s last Thursday, surrounded by at least 20 of my good friends from Awaken Young Adult Ministry, it was interesting to listen in on the various conversations that were happening all around me.

Some were making plans to hang out one more time before the summer ended, others were discussing their jobs and summer vacations and still others were talking about more serious topics, such as what God has been teaching them over the past week.

Yet, amidst the laughter, joking and animated voices, I noticed one underlying theme for each of these very different conversations:

What may be in store for them in the future.

Understandably, each of us like to have an idea of what’s coming our way so that we can be ready for it. In order to prepare for that future, most students in the U.S. graduate from high school and then make the transition to college in order to study various career fields.

It can be exciting and terrifying at the same time – heading out to college for another semester of classes and getting one step closer to earning that diploma and degree… but then the question is.. what’s next?

Let me tell you my story.

I had no idea what God had in store for me after high school. Coming from a homeschooling family, I didn’t feel like I completely fit in with the public school students and didn’t know where my place was in the adult world. So, I went with the money-saving plan of going to community college until I figured out which career choice best fit the talents that I have.

That’s where I fell in love with journalism.

After getting a bunch of my articles published on the front page of The Commuter (the college newspaper) and completing the necessary courses in order to earn my Associates Degree in Journalism, I was ready to figure out what college I should go to in order to get my Bachelor’s Degree. I felt like I was starting back at square one!

I prayerfully looked through the mountain of pamphlets and brochures that had been endlessly spewing from my family’s mailbox ever since I graduated high school and finally found a nice state college out in the middle of nowhere: Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. The best thing is that the college accepted nearly all of my credits and had the exact major I was looking for: Print Journalism!

This started the next chapter of my life in Edinboro, PA, and boy was that a crazy ride. Without going into every single detail, let’s just say many of the experiences I had during my time there really stretched my faith and helped me to figure out where I fit in ministry and how God can use little ol’ me to further His kingdom on a college campus.

Ultimately, my time at EUP allowed me to make my faith and relationship with God my own and discover who I am as a unique individual… who God created me to be.

Coming back home was bittersweet after graduating in 2012 and having to leave all of my new friends behind. I felt like, once I was home and back working at Red Robin again, I was just plugging along at life, wondering exactly what God had in store for me, and not really taking a step in either direction, whether good or bad.

This one verse kept popping up in my mind during this time and it really helped to cling to the fact that God’s plan will come to pass as long as we wait on His timing:

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond
anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,

so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts”
Isaiah 55:8-9

Also, the well-known passage:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord.
“They are plans for good and not for disaster,
to give you a future and a hope.”

Jeremiah 29:11

The bottom line is this: none of us can hurry or slow down God’s plans for our lives. He will fulfill it when the time is right and all we need to do is trust Him and rely on His guidance no matter how long or tough the road may get.

Easier said than done, right? That’s definitely what it feels like at times.

Like I said before, when I came back home, I wasn’t really sure what the next step was. Here I had my Bachelor’s Degree in Print Journalism, but no idea of where or how to even begin looking for a “big girl” job… and the motivation just wasn’t there. I was burned out.

Then, a crazy thing happened.

I took my laptop with me for our family vacation back in June 2012 (just on a whim, since I normally swear off electronics during vacations). The moment I logged on to check Facebook, I found an online message from my community college advisor (who I hadn’t talked to in a little over 2 years) and he alerted me about an opening at one of the major local papers. He told me that they were looking for recent college graduates and urged me to contact them as soon as possible.

I called the number, got a phone interview on the spot and set up a face-to-face interview with one of the editors for when I got back from vacation… and within the next couple of weeks, I was offered the job of News Assistant at The Morning Call in Allentown, which is only half an hour from my parents’ house!

It still amazes me how, when I was feeling completely overwhelmed with the task of trying to apply for jobs in my career field, a newspaper job dropped right into my lap!

And it’s different for everyone.

Some will land a job in their career right away. Others may have to wait a year or more before they get their chance. It may get super frustrating when doors keep getting shut in our faces, but in the midst of all this, we need to remember:

“Until God opens the next door for you, praise Him in the hallway!”

So, while listening to all of my friends talk about heading back to college and getting ready to start up a whole new school year, it’s exciting for me too, even though I’m not heading back with them.

Why?

Because I know that while the future may seem so uncertain now for them… there’s an amazing God behind the scenes orchestrating a plan that goes way beyond anything we’ve ever dreamed of! And I can’t wait to see what adventures He has in store for each of my family and friends!

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Students Honor Trayvon Martin

Students gathered in front of Baron-Forness Library on “Trayvon Tuesday”, April 17, to remember the death of Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old who was killed in Sanford, Florida.

“Justice in general has always been served, but is it really happening when it’s supposed to be?” asked Marlan Jones, a sophomore communications major with a minor in political science, who was leading the event.

According to a New York Times article, it happened like this: It was a dark, rainy night, on February 26, when Martin entered the Retreat at Twin Lakes on his way back to the house he was staying at in Sanford, Florida.

A neighborhood watch had been created in August 2010 due to earlier episodes of robberies, said the article. The guidelines were that the volunteers for the watch should not possess police authority, should not have any firearms, and should only be the eyes and the ears for the police force. George Zimmerman, 28, was chosen for the job.

That night, Zimmerman had a licensed, 9-millimeter handgun and when he spotted Martin walking past his vehicle, he became suspicious and dialed 911, according to the New York Times.

 There aren’t many details about what exactly happened during those next six minutes from 7:11 to 7:17 p.m., but what the newspapers were able to find out was that Zimmerman told Martin to stop moving and Martin started running, so Zimmerman set off in pursuit.

What happened after that is unclear. Some say that Martin punched Zimmerman first, while others say that Zimmerman tackled Martin, but no matter how it started, both men ended up wrestling on ground, according to the article. 

Someone screamed for help and no one is really sure who it was, but then a single shot was fired and then silence filled the night.

When Zimmerman took it upon himself to chase after Martin, he stepped out of the guidelines that were set for the neighborhood watchmen, according to the New York Times.

Despite the charges filed  against Zimmerman on April 11, one student who attended the on-campus remembrance said he was not convinced there was enough evidence to find Zimmerman guilty.

The thing is, said Jones, you’re innocent until proven guilty; however, it seems like you’re guilty until proven innocent.

The Stand Your Ground Law “allows people to use deadly force when they feel a reasonable threat of death or serious injury,” according to a CNN article. In answer to the accusations that he fired too quickly instead of trying to reason with Martin, Zimmerman says that he shot in self-defense with no intention to kill.

Yet some students in the group were saying that because Martin didn’t stop when Zimmerman called for him to stop, he broke the law, so he was just as much in the wrong as Zimmerman was.

While all of suspicions and accusations are flying around in this case, one of the students in the group said that it’s great that more light is being shed on it, but at the same time, the family has to relive it every day and they really can’t seem to escape it.

It’s on the news every single day, so instead of being able to go through the grieving process and getting the chance to move on, it’s being drug out further than it would’ve been otherwise. The student said he could not even begin to imagine how hard it must be for the parents to see their son being talked about on TV.

Most of the students in the group were trying to view the story from both sides. Maybe Zimmerman felt that it was his duty to protect the neighborhood and had some motive for pulling the trigger that night, they said.

After the discussion, Jones asked for a moment of silence to be held to commemorate the death of Martin. 

On April 23, Zimmerman was released from jail on a $150,000 bond. Later that day, his attorney, Mark O’Mara announced that Zimmerman would enter a not-guilty plea.

Anna Tielmann (Taken from The Spectator Vol. III, Issue 25)

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Historical Baseball Players Share Stories

The Josh Gibson Centennial Educational Tour came to Edinboro University on April 10 to grant students and faculty a taste of history.

A panel presentation was given by former Negro League players, Ted Toles and Pedro Sierra, as well as Sean Gibson, great-grandson of Hall of Fame baseball player Josh Gibson.

“Baseball gives every American boy a chance to excel. Not just to be as good as anybody else, but to be better. This is the nature of man and the name of the game,” S. Gibson said, quoting Ted Williams, who was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1966.

African Americans weren’t allowed to play in the major leagues, so they formed their own teams directly after the Civil War and during the Reconstruction in the late 1800s, said Marvin DeBose, a grad student in the communications program at Edinboro University, who was acting as moderator for the panel.

Some people say that the Negro League players were bitter or upset that they couldn’t make it into the major leagues, S. Gibson said. But, earning about $6,000 per year, J. Gibson and one of his teammates, Satchel Paige, were probably two of the highest paid players in the Negro Leagues.

J. Gibson is regarded as one of the greatest Negro League players of all time, said DeBose.

“He was just a fun guy to be around,” said Larry Lester, an author and historian that spoke on the documentary that was shown during the presentation.
 

J. Gibson began catching for the Pittsburgh Crawfords in 1927 and went on to play for the Homestead Grays in 1930, DeBose said.

While he was a great catcher, J. Gibson was also considered the greatest slugger in the Negro Leagues with almost 800 homeruns in his 17-year baseball career, S. Gibson said.

Gibson received a spot in the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972, S. Gibson said. 

“During his career, (J.) Gibson never played on a losing team,” said DeBose.

One of J. Gibson’s most memorable moments, according to the documentary, was in a game against the Lincoln Giants in the Yankee Stadium.

J. Gibson smashed a homerun toward the left field bullpen and some newspaper reports say that it travelled more than 500 feet, farther than Babe Ruth or Lou Gehrig, which would make it the longest homerun ever hit.

“He’s one of the greatest of all time,” said S. Gibson, “but in order to be considered the greatest of all time, they should play against both races.” 
 

Many Negro League baseball players credit J. Gibson with breaking the barrier for them into the major leagues, said the documentary about J. Gibson.

Toles played for the Pittsburgh Crawfords in 1946, Debose said. He’s played with famous ball players like Jackie Robinson, Larry Doby, and Bill White, among many others.

“I feel as if I’m living on borrowed time,” said Toles. “I’ve been blessed to have been here for 86 years and as far as baseball goes, I never made a million dollar bill, but I had a million dollar thrill.”

When Toles played with the Cleveland Buckeyes in 1947, he could bunt so good that the runner on first base would start running while the pitcher was throwing the ball. 

By the time Toles knocked down the bunt, the runner was already at second, so when the opposing team went to go throw the ball to second, they left third base wide open.

“That was a play we made quite often,” said Toles with a grin.

Sierra played for the Detroit Stars in 1956 as the pitcher and had the most sharp and effective curve balls of his time, said DeBose.

“I was taught to respect the game,” Sierra said.

“Historians can tell the history of the Negro Leagues from what they’ve heard. If it hadn’t been for us, there would be no stories of the Negro League,” said Sierra.

“People tell what they hear. We can tell you what we lived, what we saw, what we felt,” said Sierra. “The discrimination was not like make-believe stories. We were there. We knew what happened. We felt it. We are the history.” 

Anna Tielmann (Taken from The Spectator Vol III, Issue 24)

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Campus Pinpoints Details in Occupy

Students from Edinboro University and Mercyhurst College discussed the humane conservative viewpoint of the Occupy Wall Street Movement with Dr. Michael Federici, from the political science department at Mercyhurst, during a panel discussion in the R. Benjamin Wiley Arts & Sciences Center on April 5.

“The problem when we’re general (in our discussions) is we miss the subtleties that allow us to see similarities between things that are seemingly different,” said Federici in his opening comments.

Federici said that humane conservatives tend to take the word “conservative” seriously, in that they believe there is something worth preserving and conserving.

For example, the integrity of the community is important to conservatives and in relation to the Occupy Wall Street Movement, there are several areas of common ground that Federici pointed out.

Concentrated economic power is seen as destructive to local communities, Federici said.

“I’ve seen over the course of decades, small family-run businesses be replaced and forced out by big, giant corporations,” said Federici. “We would call that the ‘Wal-Mart Problem.’”

The Occupy Wall Street Movement claims that they are fighting against the combined power of major banks and multi-national corporations and their influence over politics, Federici said.

Yet, Federici said he doesn’t agree with the way that the Occupy Wall Street Movement demonizes the tens of thousands of people that work there.

“That is precisely the kind of language that I think polarizes politics and discourse,” Federici said.

The idea that it’s possible to transform the entire world is another example of language use that Federici doesn’t agree with. “The very talk of massive, wide-sweeping change is unrealistic and likely to do more harm than good,” he said.

“I think it makes more sense to focus on smaller, local goals that are attainable and to stay within your own community, first and foremost, when it comes to political reform,” Federici stated.

Federici also didn’t agree with the idea that more democracy is better. When we talk about rights and democracy, Federici said, I think you’ve lost touch with how the real world operates

“Political action requires a certain degree of intelligence. Not only intellectual intelligence, but practical intelligence that comes with time and maturity,” said Federici.

In response to Federici’s comments, Sean Fedorko, a recent graduate from Mercyhurst who holds B.A.’s in both Political Science and Philosophy, said that he agrees with what Federici said.

The Occupy Wall Street Movement wants localization and empowerment, Fedorko said.

So, thinking about empowerment in relation to self-interest, Fedorko said, “this is the kernel that really rests in the similarities between humane-conservatism and OWS and maybe (can show) how… these two groups are advocating a very similar goal from very different means.”

The people involved with the movement are advocating a way to regain power because they see an imbalance of power, said Fedorko.

“They seem to be failing, however, due to their knee-jerk reaction to political, economic and social institutions that are failing to foster the good life for the majority: the 99 percent,” Fedorko pointed out.

I think that if the activists were to articulate that what they’re advocating isn’t to seize control of Wall Street and punish them, said Fedorko, but trying to reintegrate Wall Street “as individuals who have sort of lost the way to a community that we all need to foster.”

Brian Barton, a senior majoring in Political Science at Edinboro University, responded next by saying that one of the unifying characteristics of humane conservatism and the movement is the skepticism toward the government.

The problem that conservatives had with the bailouts in 2009 was the government interference in the market, Barton said. They felt that the government was deciding who would be the winner and the losers rather than just allowing the marketplace to decide.

The government intrusion in the marketplace has extended our current economic drought, said Barton, and that’s why I find myself supporting some of what the movement is advocating.

Suzanne Boone, an undergraduate majoring in sociology at Edinboro University, has had a personal experience with the Occupy Wall Street Movement and, in her response to Federici; she said that it’s important to have these conversations in order to get different perspectives on the issue.

“We all have a common thread that holds us together as human beings,” Boone said. It’s all about having respect for the other person and holding that conversation with them about their views and what they’re going to do about them.

“Every single person has to be responsible for the decisions that they make,” said Boone, “and to change the things that they can change within their little area.”

Anna Tielmann (Taken from The Spectator Vol. III, Issue 23) 

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Former NPR Personality Discusses Religion Conflicts – Religion and Humanities

Ken Myers, a former National Public Radio persona, spoke about “Religion and the Humanities” to hundreds of students and faculty members at Cole Auditorium on Thursday, March 29.

“A good education recognizes the whole of what we are, that we are imaginative creatures and not just rational creatures,” Myers said. “That we were made for more than just mere survival.”

Of his personal convictions, Myers said, “I would assert that human beings were made to love what is true, to honor what is good and to delight in what is beautiful.”

Humanities helps to uncover the meanings and purposes of life, said Myers. He went on to explain more about what humanities and education really is.

Philosopher Josef Pieper called attention to the difference between being educated and being trained, Myers said.”

Training is concerned with one aspect while education is concerned with the whole world, according to Pieper.

Myers explained that education has been historically grounded in the disciplines under humanities.

“While vocational training shapes skills, humanities shapes persons. Training provides information, humanities opens a way for wisdom. Training departs practical abilities while humanities provide the framework for guiding our practices,” he said.

Myers cited Jacques Barzun, a 1970 American historian, and discussed how he used a farming metaphor to describe the role of humanities in society.

“Cultivation means that minds are not just databases that need to be filled. They’re more like fields that need to be prepared for fruitfulness,” Myers said.

For example, literature, philosophy, language, and the arts are not just classes to take, Myers said. They should be encountered in everyday life.

“The time of formal education is simply the intense preparation for a lifetime of informal education,” said Myers. “The field isn’t just cultivated once because there is more than one crop to be harvested. Education is just the beginning of our relationship with these different areas of research.”

Humanities frees us to live as more than just mere animals, Myers said.

In a 1910 lecture to the Association of American Universities, Woodrow Wilson, then president of Princeton University, warned against schooling that was merely training, said Myers.

The trained individual is a tool, not a social mind, said Wilson. Society needs minds that are imaginative and not just capable of logic or reasoning.

Poetic knowledge is a central part of the humanities, said Myers. This knowledge requires involvement and participation. It’s an invitation to engage and respond.

Poetic knowledge calls us away from detachment and dominion, toward love and community, Myers explained. It challenges our objective and subjective knowledge.

In this sense, education is more than just training for a job, Myers said. If we think that human beings have a higher purpose than mere survival, then education can be seen as to equip us for that higher purpose.

We are created in the image of God according to the western humanism and religious viewpoint, said Myers, but we continue to make mistakes because of our humanity.

Myers quoted historian Steven Ozment in saying that “we study the past, not to avoid repeating it, but to learn how previous generations survived the same mistakes that we make.”

The search for truth is essential to communities, said Myers. “Just knowing the truth wasn’t enough. We need to get together and talk about it.”

Myers then went on to point out the similarities between the church and the university. The church had always read the Bible out loud to a gathered community of believers and, likewise, the university also had its own “canon of writings.”

The church researches the Bible, while the university takes the texts that others had written and compare other articles with that text, Myers continued. The church looks to the Bible for guidelines on how to do theology and the university looks to written texts to see how professors before them had taught certain subjects.

In his closing remarks, Myers quoted literary scholar, Marion Montgomery, in saying, “A good education isn’t just the combining of ideas. It’s a communal wrestling of ideas of reality and then take it to the next step.”

Anna Tielmann (Taken from The Spectator, Vol. III, Issue 22)

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Former NPR Personality Discusses Religion Conflicts – Religion and Science

Ken Myers, a former National Public Radio figure, gave a presentation in Cole Auditorium on “Religion and Science” to hundreds of students and faculty on Wednesday, March 28.

“Both terms in popular usage have hardened into defensive positions that have created an unnecessary sense of opposition,” Myers said.

Science is regarded as purely objective and detached from personal choices, said Myers, while religion is seen as entirely subjective, more personal and private.

According to John Polkinhorne, a physicist and theologian, the ideas and thoughts that can be gained from these matters are obstructed by the myth of the battle between the “scientific light” and the “religious darkness.”

Yet, there has been fruitful conversation among scientists, philosophers, and theologian about the relationship between science and religion, said Myers.

“It’s a fruitful conversation because the scientific and theological ways of knowing actually have much in common,” Myers explained.

Thomas Kuhn, author of “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions,” said that the main challenge is the assumption that we can separate the objective from the subjective.

Some scientists say that when they are behaving in a completely objective manner when, in reality, science relies heavily on the authority of other scientists, Myers pointed out.

“Science must rely heavily on the authority of fellow scientists,” explained Myers. “The community of scientists is one of authority, of trust, and tradition, as are religious communities.”

According to Herbert Butterfield, an English historian, people tend to point to the scientific revolution as outshining everything since Christianity and reduce the Renaissance and the Reformation as “mere episodes,” Myers said.

But, in the 17th century, there wasn’t a single cultural unit called “science,” said Myers. A diverse variety of cultural practices was aimed at understanding, explaining, and controlling the natural world.

There’s a sense that’s detached science from all sorts of human activities, which is very similar to how some people regard religion, Myers pointed out.

“What we call science and what we call religion are deeply human activities. That they’re situated in human history and they’re connected to other aspects of human experience and, to the dismay of zealots on both sides, they’re very much intertwined with one another,” said Myers.

In the late 19th and 20th centuries, there was talk that science was the “new religion” and had succeeded the position that religion had previously enjoyed, Myers said.

In his 1874 book, “History of the Conflict Between Science and Religion,” John William Draper, claimed that science and religion were “necessarily at war.”

According to Draper, there will come a time where men have to choose between immobile faith and ever-advancing science.

Steven Shapin, a historian of science, said that “there’s no such thing as science and there’s no such thing as religion.” They are huge words that lump together human practices, beliefs and institutions, he said.

According to Shapin, science and religion are much more complex than the terms suggest, Myers said.

“I’m not trying to prohibit the use of certain words,” Myers said. “I just want us to recognize that they are used really loosely. The concrete realities that they describe might be obscured if we’re not mindful of the fuzziness of the word.”

“We know the world as persons and as persons we are necessarily tied to an inheritance of knowledge,” Myers said in his closing remarks.

“Merely to use a language, with its distinctive, poetic possibilities, is to be involved in a tradition of knowledge. Such traditions either in science or religion, can be reformed but they can’t be avoided.”

Anna Tielmann (Taken from The Spectator Vol. III, Issue 22) 

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University Policy Deems Attendance Unnecessary

The Edinboro Administration Council has announced that as of April 1, they will allow students to have an unlimited amount of excused absences for the rest of the semester.

“We’ve learned from past semesters that when the weather is nice and the sun is out, students tend to skip class anyway,” said Robert McCluder, head of the council.

“We discussed different options and came to the conclusion that it’s unfair to force students to stay in class when they’d rather be enjoying the outdoors,” McCluder explained.

However, in order to give students credit for the class, the council couldn’t say that they weren’t required to show up for class, said Michael Munchie, the secretary for the council.

After weeks of meetings, discussions, debates, and compromises, the council decided that the only way that this could be made possible was through eliminating the limit of excused absences, said McCluder.

The coucil based its decision on a number of points, according to Wendy Wright, a member of the council and professor of sociology at Edinboro.

“Not every student learns the same way,” she explained. “Some learn best by taking notes, while others prefer to just listen to a lecture. Then there’s the group that doesn’t get anything from the class and learns everything on their own.”

The council also sees the benefit of allowing students to have more free time in their day, Wright pointed out.

“Students seem to be more relaxed if they don’t have to be in class every day,” she said. “If we don’t require them to be in class, except for tests, then that gives them more time to work at their own pace, improve their grade, and actually learn something from the class.”

Mark McKenzie, a psychology professor at the university, said that he sees the benefits that this will have on the students, professors, and the overall grading system of the university.

“Everyone is wired differently and no one learns the same way,” he said. “But, in taking away the limits on excused absences, professors and students alike will find learning to be enjoyable for all.”

Students won’t have to worry about getting up too early for classes, McKenzie stated. 

They’ll most likely become less stressed when they don’t have the extra burden of trying to get to class on time when they’re in the middle of working on an assignment,.

Then there are the professors. McKenzie says that he has noticed that several of his students seem to use his class as a napping period. “I’m hoping that when we give students an unlimited amount of excused absences, there will be less of a problem of sleeping in class.”

Clarice Lee, a senior majoring in speech and hearing, said she was surprised about the new policy, “I can’t believe they’re actually giving us an opportunity to skip class without getting in trouble for it,” she said.

But it’s no joke according to secretary for Student Affairs, Margaret Jones. “It’s a legitimate rule now,” she said. “The council has listened to students complaints and reasons behind skipping classes once spring weather hits. This goes to show that when enough students speak up and present their case well, they can make a change that is beneficial to all.”

(Disclaimer – None of the information in this article is factual)

Anna Tielmann (Taken from The Spectator Vol. 3, Issue 21)  Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Creature spotted in ‘Boro Lake

 Sightings of a massive, black creature with a long neck and a large, humped back was reported in Edinboro Lake last Monday at 7:30 a.m.

“It certainly wasn’t any type of fish that I’ve ever seen,” said Stanley Yelnats, a 56-year-old local fisherman who was out in his boat early that morning.

Yelnats said that he had been fishing for about an hour, when a disturbance in the water caught his attention.

“Directly in the center of the lake, a large bubble appears, then another, then another. Just as I was reaching to start my motor up, I saw this large, reptile-like head come right up out of the bubbles,” Yelnats described. 

“Then, at least 50 feet behind it, a huge lump of what must’ve been its back appeared above the water,” Yelnats said. “This thing was huge.”

Yelnats said that he grew up in Edinboro and has been fishing on Edinboro Lake for as long as he can remember and nothing this big has ever been spotted. 

“I didn’t think the lake was deep enough to contain something of that size,” Yelnats said. “I’m just glad my boat wasn’t right on top of it when it decided to surface.”

Lavender Brown, a junior sociology major at Edinboro University, said she was walking her German Shepherd, Duke, along the lake when she noticed something strange.

“One minute the water was calm and peaceful, and then the next thing I know, large bubbles appear out in the middle and this long black thing stuck straight up out of the water,” she said.

She didn’t get a second look because Duke started barking and yanking on the leash.

“Duke hardly ever barks,” Brown said. “So, I’m pretty sure I wasn’t hallucinating whatever I saw out there.”

Bob Cratchit, a 30-year-old mechanic from Edinboro, and his seven-year-old son, Tim Cratchit say that they too saw something big out in the lake when they were fishing there sometime early Monday morning.

“I was baiting my son’s hook when he started jumping up and down and tugging on my arm, shouting, ‘Dad! Look!’” Cratchit said. “I looked out at the lake and there was what looked to be a long neck and, behind it, a huge lump of a back just floating on top of the water.”

Cratchit shook his head and laughed, “I want to say that it looked like a long-neck dinosaur, but then you’d think I was crazy. But I really can’t explain it any other way.”

Amy Price, a 36-year-old local marine biologist, said that there have been similar sightings reported over at Loch Ness, Scotland, which could add to the truth of the possible sightings in Edinboro Lake. “There have been reports of either three black humps or a long dinosaur neck rising above the water surface, or both in some instances,” she said.

“The only explanation that I can think of is that there could be a smaller version of the Loch Ness Monster located here in Edinboro,” Price said. “There has been evidence that some dinosaurs do still exist, so there could be a good possibility that what these people have seen could be a surviving giant from the past.”

(Disclaimer – None of the information is this article is factual)

Anna Tielmann (Taken from The Spectator Vol 3, Issue 21)
 

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Michael Phelps: Swimmer Superstar

Setting seven world records, eight American records, eight Olympic records, and winning eight gold medals in the Summer Olympics in Beijing in 2008 was an amazing accomplishment for 26-year-old swimmer, Michael Phelps.

The fact of the matter is that Phelps didn’t swim just the eight races while he was at the Olympics, pointed out Chris Rhodes, head swim coach at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. 

During the week or week and a half that he was there, Phelps did anywhere from 20 to 24 races. 

“It’s not just a one and done type deal,” said Rhodes.

Phelps’ focus in the last Summer Olympics was to earn the eight gold medals and it was such a large feat, Rhodes isn’t sure that Phelps could duplicate it, especially since there are a lot of strong swimmers out there.

Without divulging any solid information to the media, Phelps implied that he already knows what races he will be competing in and has an idea of what he hopes to prove in the 2012 Olympic Games in London, which will take place on July 27-Aug. 12, 2012.

In an interview with Bloomsberg Magazine, Phelps said that he feels a lot more relaxed and calm than he has in past Olympics and thinks that he’ll be able to use that to his advantage in the up and coming Summer Olympics.

If anything, his goal this year would be to break the records he set in the last Summer Olympics, said Rhodes, and there is a possibility of Phelps breaking his own 50-second record in the 100-meter butterfly, but not by much.

One of the reasons is that as the body gets older, it starts to deteriorate, Rhodes said, especially for swimmers who constantly use their muscles and shoulders. With this in mind, Rhodes doesn’t believe that Phelps will be competing in as many events as we saw before. 

Phelps told Bloomberg that he’s finding that as he gets older, he doesn’t recover like he used to. This time around, he said that as he focuses on perfecting the small details of his swimming, he’s found that he feels the same power, talent, and passion that he started out with at the beginning of his career.

“I think he’s really great for the sport of swimming,” Rhodes said of Phelps. “U.S. swimming is very strong in the world and we pretty much dominated for a long period of time. What [Phelps] has done is brought some significance to the sport.”

What it all really comes down to are those hundredths of seconds. According to the USA Swimming website, “It is a sport of finger-tip touches. It is a sport where thousands of meters can come down to thousandths of seconds.”

It can go the other way too. It’s not just about the seconds, the meters, or the strength of each individual swimmer.

“In the sport of swimming,” Rhodes said, “it’s not about every single meet. It’s about [working toward] the focus meet.” 

In this instance, the Olympics would be that focus meet, said Rhodes. But first, athletes need to go through the Olympic Trials, taking place June 25-July 2, in order to make it onto the American team for the actual Olympics.

Once the top two are chosen for each event and the Olympic American team is formed, then the athletes will start training for their “focus meet.”

The swimmers will “bring up their yardage, do a lot of endurance training, and do a lot of long course training,” Rhodes explained. “Once you get closer to the meet, the yardage will be cut back and the intensity will be cut back as well, but they’ll still have a lot of technique to work on.”

The different races that Phelps has competed in that past are the 100 meter butterfly, which is just down and back the length of a 50 meter pool, the 200 meter butterfly, the 4×100 meter relay, and the 400 meter individual medley (IM), which consists of four different strokes – butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, and freestyle, Rhodes explained.

But according to an interview with Reuters, Phelps has opted out of racing in the 400 IM and said the toughest race in the upcoming Summer Olympics could be the 4×100 meter freestyle relay. The toughest race, Phelps said in an interview with Reuters, is the 4×100 relay. All the team can do is put up their best swimmers and hope for the best, Phelps said.

With his six-foot frame and 80-inch wingspan, Phelps may appear to be superhuman. But in today’s day and age, said Rhodes, the fact that he was caught doing drugs in 2009 makes him seem more human to his fans.

“Not that I condone anything that he did,” Rhodes pointed out, “but it kind of puts his achievements into perspective. Obviously the guy is very talented and his genetic makeup allows him to do certain things than the average human, but it just shows that when you work hard, you can accomplish some great things.”

Phelps earned himself a spot in the history books for topping Mark Spitz’s 1972 record of seven gold medals. 

“I don’t think there is anyone out there that can top Phelp’s record of most medals, to be honest,” Rhodes said. “There’s a lot of young talent that can challenge him in each one of his events, but to say that someone can do what he did again, I guess we’ll just have to wait and see when the next ‘Michael Phelps’ comes around.”

Anna Tielmann

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